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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 22:37 GMT
Plans to expand second Kent jail
Blantyre Prison
Blantyre Prison is used for inmates nearing the end of their sentence
Residents have reacted angrily to news the government is looking at plans to expand a second prison in Kent.

The Home Office has applied to expand Blantyre House, an open prison in Goudhurst, weeks after another planning application for it was turned down.

Opposition campaigners have claimed planning application processes are being circumvented.

Earlier this week, the BBC also learned of proposals to double the size of the Rochester young offenders' institute.

The Prison Service said planning applications had been made for a number of prisons, although it did not mean they would all go ahead.

'Permitted development'

Six weeks ago an application to expand Blantyre House by building an extra 44 cells was turned down.

The latest application that has been submitted is for 60 more inmates- increasing the prison capacity by 50%.

It is for a "permitted development", designed for small-scale extensions.

But resident Ed Bates said: "We're angry because it was turned down using the full democratic planning process.

"That having happened, the prison have now chosen to use, inappropriately in our opinion, a general permitted development order certificate application.

"We think that that won't allow a process for the public to be listened to."

Blantyre House is used to rehabilitate long-term prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentence, and is one of 30 prisons across the UK being used to solve the problem of overcrowding.


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